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Writers, revolution and a really big fish

Writers, revolution and a really big fish

Hi fellow collector

They say fishermen tell tall tales.

But I can guarantee this story is true.

It's about a revolution, a writer and some really big fish.

It stars three of the most famous names in Cuba's history.

And a pair of historic fishing rods.

  • Direct from one of the world's finest private collections
  • Preserved for more than 60 years
  • And unseen outside of Cuba until today

So if you're a collector with a passion for history - or an angler in search of a unique trophy piece...

Here's your chance for a remarkable catch.

And it starts with an old man and the sea.

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Writer Ernest Hemingway is one of the most iconic cultural figures in the history of Cuba.

Ernest Hemingway loved Cuba and its people.

He purchased a villa near Havana in 1939 and spent the next 20 years writing, fishing and drinking mojitos on the island.

And then came the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

Now Hemingway was no communist.

But after fighting in the Spanish Civil War he hated fascist dictators even more. So at first he was happy to see Fidel Castro get rid of Bastista.

Then over dinner one night in the spring of 1960, the U.S ambassador told Hemingway he had a choice:

Leave Cuba and publicly denounce the revolution, or be labelled a traitor and face the wrath of the U.S Government.

But Hemingway was stubborn as a mule, and hated being told what to do.

So he invited Castro and Guevara to join his fishing tournament instead.

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Hemingway (right) established the annual Ernest Hemingway International Billfishing Tournament in 1950, and it continues to this day.

Fidel Castro knew almost nothing about fishing. But he was quick to accept the invitation.

This was a major international event, and he recognised a great P.R opportunity when he saw it.

“I don’t presume to be a great fisherman, but I was invited and told that Hemingway would take part as well," he told reporters. "And as you know, he has always defended Cuba and the Revolution.”

He also invited Che Guevara along (who knew less about fishing than he did).

And on May 16, 1960, just five months after taking power...

The two men packed up their rods and set off in search of a Marlin.

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Castro and Guevara were not the world's greatest fishermen. But one of them was an incredibly lucky beginner.

Ironically, the pair refused to share a boat with Hemingway as they feared he might face an assassination attempt.

(Perhaps because he was now in the bad books of the U.S government.)

They also took Castro's personal photographer Alberto Korda with them, to document the event for posterity - and publicity.

As a novice, Guevara failed to catch anything and spent much of his time reading political texts.

But incredibly, Castro hauled in two huge marlins on the first day and another on the second.

That might seem suspicious, but according to all accounts he caught them fair and square.

And it was enough to win the tournament, which stunned everyone.

Especially Hemingway and Castro himself.

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Che Guevara is one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century, recognised in every corner of the world.

At the trophy presentation ceremony, Hemingway and Castro met for the first and only time.

Castro told the author he was just a beginner. Hemingway suggested he was a very lucky one.

And as they casually talked fishing, Hemingway handed over an armful of trophies to the man who would soon drive him from the island forever.

Today that fishing tournament remains one of the most iconic moments in Cuban history.

It was meeting of politics and culture with only one winner.

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Castro, Guevara and Hemingway - three icons united by the sport of fishing in May 1960.Countless books and articles have retold that tale over the years.

And Korda's images of Castro and Guevara fishing together are some of the most famous he ever took.

But books and photographs will only get you so far.

If you want to get even closer to history...

If you want to hold it in your hands and feel it in your fingertips...

It doesn't get better than this.

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Fidel Castro's fishing rod, used during the 1960 Ernest Hemingway International Billfishing Tournament

The actual fishing rods used by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in that tournament.

Preserved and intact after more than 60 years.

Hidden for decades in the personal collection of Castro's mistress Natty Revuelta Clews.

And now offered to collectors outside of Cuba for the first time in their history.

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Che Guevara's fishing rod, used during the 1960 Ernest Hemingway International Billfishing Tournament

Imagine the pride of owning these truly historic items.

(Not to mention the bragging rights amongst other collectors!)

Because they're two of the most important and valuable fishing rods ever offered for public sale.

They were personally used by two of the most significant political figures of the 20th century.

They come with perfect provenance. Their condition remains superb.

And there's photographic proof of exactly when and where they were used.

These are the ultimate display pieces for your trophy room.

Two legendary artefacts from the history of angling.

And this is probably the only opportunity you'll ever have to own them.

They go up for auction in eight days time.

So get your bids ready to reel them in.

View Fidel Castro's fishing rod

View Che Guevara's fishing rod

These fishing rods are part of The Fidel Castro and Che Guevara Personal Property Collection.

It features 39 lots from one of the finest private collections of historic memorabilia I've ever handled.

The full catalogue is available to view online here. Bidding is now live, and closes on Thursday June 23.

For more information on the lighter, or any other lot in the auction, email me at

Or call me on +44 (0) 1534 639 998.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for reading,

Paul Fraser,

Chairman, Just Collecting.

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